Improved Laminated Metals

A two-story brick L-shaped mill along Eddy Street south of the corner of Eddy and Public Streets. In decay for 10 years or more before being razed in 2005.

About this Property

#Reason for Demolition

We saw this building coming down in late April (2005). Passers-by on the street said it had been coming down for a week or two. The worst part is that it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned out, all the furniture was still in there. Could have been some cool stuff, but we’ll never know.

This building had been sitting on Eddy Street near the Herff/Jones building for at least four years now… and that is only since I have noticed it. A flat front building with a long facade and an “L” shape that goes way back on the southern edge. There is a space inside (under the bridge) that is actually more like a courtyard, with the building wrapping around you. The depth of the flanks must be about 40 feet.

The older windows are 15 lites over two large ones. Some of the rest of the windows are filled in with glass block and have smaller 8-lite apertures. Many are broken.

Handy & Harman Co., current owners, manufactured solder and other specialty metal products. Improved Laminated Metals was a division or acquisition. It’s possible that H&H may not now actually own the site and is only a legacy owner who has environmental responsibility, we’re not sure. They were trying to find a buyer as far back as 1999. At that time a group of artists was negotiating for purchase or lease, but nothing seems to have come of it.

The building was essentially sound, with a few roof leaks and the broken windows, as one would expect with no occupancy or maintenance for many years. It is completely trashed inside, particularly the offices. The place had a long hard life and had taken a real beating, but seemed fairly sound and intact nonetheless, including 19th c. elevators, and an ancient boiler made by the Almy Company of Providence. The building needed a total restoration which no doubt has kept away the buyers. The neighborhood was not ripe for residential mill redevelopment (and still may not be in 2020).

We are not sure what Laminated Metal did at one time, or why exactly the building was vacant with a relatively new building right beside it (Herff/Jones). There might have been a structure south of it that abutted the building where there is now a parking lot — the exposed cinder block offered a clue. But aerial photos from 1997 still show a parking lot and an aerial from 1988 might show a building or it might be just really dark asphalt.

As far as contributing to the character of the area, right now, it made Eddy Street look even more dismal, being not far from the Eddy Street Church of Jesus (still standing at the time of this writing) and other smaller derelict sites.

#History

From the anecdotes — Improved Laminated Metals manufactured precious metal wire, sheet and speciality shapes for the jewelry and electronic materials industries. Before that it might have been called Improved Seamless Wire Co, as early as the 1950s.

From Google Books

Precious Metals 1981

Proceedings of the Fifth International Precious Metals Institute Conference, Held in Providence, Rhode Island, June 2-5, 1981

Kris Vaithinathan, Improved Laminated Metals, Rhode Island. An article titled, “Conventional Bonding Techniques for Precious Metal Clad.”

#Current Events

The area is now a parking lot for the Hospitals owned by Lifespan.